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Coronavirus: All 72 EFL clubs to undergo mandatory testing next week

Full round of mandatory coronavirus tests to be held from January 4 across all EFL clubs amid a rise in positive cases in the country and increased postponements; EFL, unlike Premier League, does not test players regularly

Action from Sunderland vs Ipswich
Image: League One Sunderland have not played since December 15 due to a coronavirus outbreak at the club

The English Football League will conduct widespread coronavirus testing with all 72 clubs next week.

The measure, planned before the rise in cases across the country this week, will see a full round of mandatory tests rolled out, commencing January 4.

More than 40 games have been called off in the EFL in the last month due to coronavirus circumstances, with nine more matches postponed on Tuesday night.

The EFL, unlike the Premier League, does not test its players regularly but relies on them reporting symptoms and on contract tracing.

The organisation is not planning on introducing more regular mandatory coronavirus testing, which if conducted twice-weekly would cost each club approximately £10,000 per week.

The wave of EFL testing comes ahead of a number of its clubs preparing for the FA Cup third round, due to be held from January 8.

The EFL has instructed clubs to minimise the time that playing and non-playing staff spend indoors - which includes the use of gyms, changing and catering facilities.

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The UK recorded 53,135 new daily infections on Tuesday - a record number.

Despite this, the EFL is confident it can cope with the increasing number of games that are having to be postponed because of coronavirus cases.

Meanwhile, the Premier League are not discussing the possibility of a circuit break to halt the season amid a rise of coronavirus cases in the game.

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Bryan Swanson reports that the Premier League are not discussing a 'circuit break' and that they believe their coronavirus protocols are 'robust'

However, the Rochdale's club doctor, Wesley Tensel, believes a halt to the football season could be in the best interests for all clubs.

"It maybe wise to have a circuit breaker so we can get on top of things so that if there are lots of clubs having problems it won't affect the season," he said.

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Rochdale club doctor Dr Wesley Tensel says it may be wise for football to have a break so that clubs can deal with increasing numbers of coronavirus cases

'No issue if League One finishes late May'

Meanwhile, Peterborough United owner Darragh MacAnthony says the League One and Two seasons could be extended until late May to allow the coronavirus-hit campaign to be finished.

The 2019/20 season in League One and League Two were curtailed in June this year amid the Covid-19 pandemic, with concerns that the current campaign could be similarly affected amid a rapid rise in coronavirus cases.

The final table was determined on a points-per-game method, with the play-offs then played behind closed doors.

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Peterborough United chairman Darragh MacAnthony says games in League One and League Two could be played up to the end of May to make sure that the season is finished

But MacAnthony told Sky Sports News: "I think the season will finish. We don't need to go to those headlines again.

"I think that was last year's headline and, going in to 2021, look, we've got until the start of May to finish our season.

"If we have go to the end of May, so be it. League One and League Two are not going to have many players going to the Euros this summer.

"So I don't see why we can't go an extra two or three weeks if necessary."

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